Friday, March 11, 2005

Spammy Subject Lines in Email

Posted by Hello


If you send email to those who may not know who you are, you need to avoid putting certain words and phrases in your Subject: lines.

Spam filters block email messages that have certain words in the Subject: line, and human recipients may consider any Subject: line with these words in it to be spam, virus, or phishing emails.

Here are some words to avoid using:

* Please reply to my email

* Please respond

* Final warning

* Update your account information

* RE: your account

* Pre-approved application

* Hi

* Hello

* We need your update information

* Free

* Act now

* RE: your code # [number]

* Tired of paying high costs for your medications?

* Did you receive my email of last week?

* Thank you for your attention

* Rate approval

* Lowest rates [prices, cost, etc.]

* Security update

* Security warning

* Full length adult DVDs

* Downloads

* Your application has been approved

* cheap meds

* pharmaceutical

* enhance

* enlarge

* software

Even if your message is non-commercial, sincere, requested by a customer, still--avoid these words at all costs.

Think of some other words and phrases to use in your Subject: lines and in the first sentence of your message. Some email clients display the Subject: line and the first several words of the first sentence, prior to the recipient opening the email.

Another ignorant tactic of spammers is to put my email address in the To: line, instead of my name. This is a dead giveaway that the email is spam, or worse.

Remember: when you open a spam email message, simply out of stupidity or curiosity, you have sent a signal to the spammer that your email address is valid and active. Then the spammer will send you more spam and will also sell a list with your email address on it to other spammers.

You may greatly increase the amount of spam that is sent to you, just by opening a spam email message.

Fight back.

Delete all email that looks strange, unprofessional, amateur, or like it's trying to trick you into revealing sensitive personal or financial information.

Never give your email address to your bank, insurance company, hospital, etc. That way, if you receive an email from such a sender, you'll know it has to be fake (phishing).

1 comment:

Mel said...

Now I actually appreciate this post. It's very smart and the kind of thing I'd recirculate. It amazes me how dumb people can be about email, something they do every day. I insist on relevant topical subject lines and always remove the re; after the first response. Particularly for professional matters. When I'm scanning my inbox for a deadline or a change in project direction I want to see a subject line to that end. An additional useful thing to do (again this is just common sense) is to keep each email contextual to a particular issue. You may end up sending the person several emails but this allows the user more control over the information they need to keep and the chaff.